Duchess’s Pudding

Posted in British food, dairy, dessert, pudding, recipe on October 22nd, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!
  • 120g/4oz unsalted butter
  • 120g/4oz caster / powdered sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 150g / 5oz self raising flour
  • 60g / 2oz mixed fruit
  • 30g / 1oz glace cherries, chopped
  • 30g / 1oz chopped walnuts (or more dried fruit, to your taste)
  • almond essence to taste
  • milk
  • Butter your pudding basin.

    Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg to the creamed mix, beating well after each addition.

    Sift in the flour, add the fruit, nuts (if using) and almond essence. Add just enough milk to make a soft, slightly wet dough (dropping consistency). Pour batter into the pudding basin, cover, and steam for 2.5 hours OR microwave on high for 5 minutes (based on 750W microwave, adjust to your micro).

    While cooking, make up some fresh custard. Enjoy!

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    Yorkshire Polony

    Posted in British food, recipe, sausages on September 10th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    First things first: no, this is not a recipe for Baloney / Bologna / etc. This is for Yorkshire Polony, a mild cooked sausage from Yorkshire, NE England.

    You will need some special equipment here: a meat grinder, a sausage stuffer, and inedible fibre sausage casings.

    In this ingredient list I will give you percentages of ingredients rather than weight.

  • Lean Pork 100.00%
  • Pork fat 33.33%
  • Cold water 20.00%
  • Rice Flour 13.33%
  • Rusk 13.33%
  • Salt 3.32%
  • White Pepper 1.03%
  • Ground Mace 0.41%
  • Ground Coriander 0.21%
  • Ground Nutmeg 0.21%
  • Ground Cinnamon OR ginger 0.10%
  • All the ingredients are listed as a percentage of the weight of the pork. This makes sure that all the ingredients are in proportion, and you already have a set of digital kitchen scales, don’t you?

    In the case of the mace, this is a difficult and expensive spice to find, so I just add its weight to the weight of the nutmeg and use previously ground nutmeg instead (the kind you buy in the spice aisle of your grocery store). The spice fade will allow the nutmeg to present in a more mace-ish way rather than pungent nutmeg.

    Blend the rusk, rice flour, and water, and place in the fridge for 1 hour before you progress to the next step. If you have made your own rusk, keep a couple of chunks of dry rusk back for the end of the grinding process. Place the meat grinder into your freezer at this time so it can get super cold.

    Cut the pork according to directions on your meat grinder then grind the pork using the finest grinder setting into a very cold bowl.

    Grind the fat into the pork, similarly cut according to instructions. If you kept some dry rusk back, run this through the grinder now as this will help clean out the remnants from the grinder – this just helps with cleanup.

    Add all the salt and the ground spices to the ground meat and fat.

    Add the soaked rusk and flour to the above.

    Work the mix thoroughly with your hands until it all comes together in a sticky mess – this takes a while, probably 5 to 15 minutes to be decisively vague! You will know you have the right texture when it is a huge old sticky mess that won’t fall off your hands. If you’d like to see what this looks like, Scott Rea has a fantastic sausage making tutorial on Youtube.

    Place the sausage mix into your fridge and thoroughly chill for an hour. While this is chilling, put your sausage stuffer into the fridge as well. In sausage making, “keep it frosty” is your motto πŸ™‚ Place your fibre sausage casings into warm water at this time, according to the instructions with the casings.

    While this is all cooling down, set up your largest stock pot or sous vide system with lots of water. You are looking for a temperature of 175f/80c.

    Stuff the casings with a generous amount of stuffing. You want them full, but don’t stuff them rigid, you need to allow some room for expansion while cooking. If you leave a generous space at the end of the casing (a half inch to an inch?), you should be OK.

    (Once all the casings are stuffed, you may have a little of the sausagemeat left over. If you have a frying pan this isn’t a problem…. yum.)

    Tie off the casings and place in your stock pot / sous vide container. Cook for 90 minutes. Pull out the casings and place directly into a bowl full of ice water to crash cool the sausage. Once thoroughly cooled, place in your fridge. Allow the polony to sit at least overnight before you break into it.

    Cut off however many slices you want and gently fry in butter till golden brown and delicious. Serve as part of a full English breakfast, or make it into a sandwich, or just eat it with knife and fork. Or fingers. I won’t judge you πŸ˜‰


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    Posted in cheese, frugal living on August 8th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Now that I have your attention…. here’s how to make a home made version of Velveeta, only from actual cheese!

  • 1/4 ounce packet unflavoured gelatin
  • 6 tablespoons powdered milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) boiling water
  • 1 pound (16oz/450g) shredded cheese
  • Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap.

    Put gelatin and powdered milk into a blender. Add boiling water and process immediately until smooth. Add cheese and continue blending until mixture is very smooth.

    Pour mixture into pan and smooth out with a spatula. Cover with more plastic wrap then refrigerate until firm.

    Use in any recipe that calls for melty cheese… with the added advantage that you control which cheese it is. I use a blend of cheaper orange block cheese for the bulk of the cheese, then add in a stronger cheese for flavour. You can totally play around with this, using offcuts and bits of leftover cheese to make a cheese loaf that suits you perfectly… then melt it over some delicious burgers, or use it for Mac N Blue Cheese….

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    Satay peanut sauce

    Posted in information, recipe on July 28th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup very hot water
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili/garlic paste
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled & minced
  • 3 scallions, chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • The most difficult ingredient to find is likely to be the chili/garlic sauce, which isn’t that hard to find. (The same company that makes Sriracha also makes a chili garlic sauce that does the job nicely.)

    Whisk the first 7 ingredients together in a bowl until fully combined. Add the last 3 ingredients and stir.

    Store in the fridge.

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    Cinnamon rolls

    Posted in information, recipe, sugar on July 9th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Cinnamon rolls are delicious, but a little bit time consuming to make. It is well worth the effort, though, especially when you get your littles involved in making them!

  • 1/2 cup milk (120ml)
  • 1/2 cup water (120ml)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (375g)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar (65g)
  • 1 packet / 1.5 tsp active dry yeast
  • These are the ingredients for an enriched dough. We will be revisiting enriched dough for a number of recipes.

    Add all the ingredients in a large bowl, or a food processor, or mixer with the dough hook. Mix until the dough comes together in a sticky ball. If you’re using a food processor, the dough will suddenly clump around the dough attachment and the body of the processor may start to “walk” across your counter.

    If you are getting your little one to mix it in a bowl, they will need to give the dough a good solid mixing until it all comes together in a soft ball. This should nicely tire out the little one as an added benefit πŸ˜‰

    Turn out the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise once. This will take about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a rough rectangle.


  • 1 to 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) ground cinnamon
  • Brush the inside of the dough with the melted butter. Thoroughly mix the sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle liberally over the buttered area, leaving around a half inch (about 1cm) gap at the edge. Loosely roll the dough together to form a tube. Pinch the tail edge to form a seal. Cut the roll into 1 to 1.5 inch slices (2.5cm to 3.75cm). Place them into a lightly buttered baking dish and cover with plastic wrap or tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes to 1 hour or until double in size.

    Preheat your oven to 350F / 180C. Bake cinnamon rolls for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Top with water icing.

    While making this recipe, I have sometimes felt a little disgruntled about the appearance of my cinnamon rolls. They are not visually perfect like the ones you get from those multi-zillion dollar companies.

    Thankfully, I eventually realised that once the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls hit people’s noses, nobody cares about what they look like: they are far too busy stuffing their faces and asking for “more, please!” to worry about cosmetic trivia πŸ™‚

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    Water icing

    Posted in recipe, sugar on July 9th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Water icing is simple and cheap to make. It’s also super flexible, suitable for many sweet treats!

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 – 3 tbsp hot water
  • a few drops vanilla (optional)
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • other flavourings as appropriate for your recipe
  • Sift the sugar into a bowl. Decide what optional flavourings you are going to add, if any, and have them to hand.

    Stir in the hot water until the icing is a little thicker than you want it to be. Add in any of the optional flavourings you want, then recheck the consistency. Add a little more hot water at a time, if needed, until it reaches the right consistency. Allow to rest for 30 minutes before use.

    What do I mean “right consistency”? It depends on what you want it for. A drizzle on icing would need to be more liquid, icing for cinnamon rolls would be a little thicker. If in doubt make it a little thicker than you think it needs to be, try it on a small sample, then tweak the thickness as necessary.

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    Shortening substitute

    Posted in frugal living, information on July 3rd, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    I am trying to replace all the “weird” ingredients in my cooking with more natural ingredients. Shortening has been a particularly difficult one to substitute, as it has certain properties that no other cooking fat has.

    One suggestion I read was to try substituting clarified butter. In a spirit of scientific enquiry, I tried it with a blueberry coffee cake.

    Result? Oh my word. A lovely, short, buttery coffee cake. It was divine. And it was so easy to make the substitute!

  • 1 cup / 2 sticks / 225g butter PLUS
  • 2 tablespoons / 28g butter
  • Put all the butter into a saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until the butter begins to “sizzle”. This is the water beginning to cook out.

    Keep the heat under the butter until all the sizzling has stopped. Pour the clarified butter through a cheesecloth to catch any milk solids.

    Pour into a suitable 1 cup container and refrigerate. Makes 1 cup of clarified butter / shortening substitute. Use in any recipe that calls for shortening.

    (Do you have to refrigerate it? No, clarified butter is shelf stable. But having it cold helps when it comes time to make the dough.)

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    Kitchen scales

    Posted in information on June 30th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    I know that most American cooks use volume measurements in their cooking, but a set of dual-unit (lbs and kg) kitchen scales allow more precision and more repeatability in your cooking.

    Just now, on Amazon.com, there are sets of digital scales from $7 to well over $200. Most of these scales are well rated by customers.

    It’s a small investment in your cooking, and will help you cook recipes from other countries that don’t use volumetric measures. What do you have to lose? Well, apart from the $7 for the scales, plus the $20 for that thing, and oh there’s a new book by my favourite author…. πŸ™‚

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    Cake Flour substitute

    Posted in frugal living on June 23rd, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    Cake flour makes the best cakes; light, delicate, delicious.

    It is also expensive and can be difficult to find. So let’s substitute it!

  • 3.5 cups All Purpose (plain) flour
  • 0.5 cups corn starch
  • Put the ingredients in a container with a firmly fitting lid, and shake well to combine. (Pretend you’re playing the maracas…)

    Use in any recipe calling for cake flour.

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    Posted in British food on June 10th, 2018 by stuart — Be the first to comment!

    In a shocking bout of amnesia, I forgot to post the basic scone recipe, courtesy of Steve’s Kitchen. His recipe is a bit sparse, so here it is fleshed out in all its glory.

  • 350g / 12oz of Self Raising Flour
  • 85g / 3oz of Castor / Superfine Sugar
  • 85g / 3oz of Softened Butter
  • 200ml / 7.5 fl oz of Milk
  • 1 Egg Yolk to Glaze the Scones before cooking
  • Preheat your oven to 400F/200C. Mix the first 4 ingredients to make a fairly wet dough. Cut your scones to your preferred size, being very gentle when you re-work the dough to prevent gluten formation which will make subsequent scones tough.

    Brush the top of the scones with the egg yolk then bake the scones for 10 to 12 minutes, until the top becomes golden brown and delicious. Serve with lemon curd, or with clotted cream and jam.

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